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Doctor Strange Movie Review Podcast Part 2

Doctor Strange is still making its rounds in theaters and there is plenty of buzz surrounding how good this film really is. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it one of Marvel’s best? Find out here as the Outkasts of Podcasts (Joshua Dairen and Jordan Wright) review (part 2) one of the hottest comic book films of 2016!!! Disagree? Agree? Drop some comments. Let’s Talk!

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Doctor Strange Movie Review Podcast

Doctor Strange has officially made it past opening weekend and there is plenty of buzz surrounding how good this film really is. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it one of Marvel’s best? Find out here as this guy reviews one of the hottest comic book films of 2016!!! Disagree? Agree? Drop some comments. Let’s Talk!

Make sure to like, share, post, repost, retweet, snap, whatever if you dig this!

 

Creative Space: A Letter to the Ambitious Creative

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Deep down inside of you there is a fire that burns and from the outside looking in, that fire may seem like it is out of control. Wild, even. But you know exactly what it burns for. You may not know why, but it is the source by which you create and create well. Your parents probably hate that you do not care about the medical field as much as you do for your passions, but to you, that does not really matter because you are a creative, you know it, and you will not allow that to be taken from you.

As a creative, you realize that you have a lot to give and you feel the weight of people not quite appreciating that. It is not a complaint, just awareness, so you work harder and harder to get people to notice your work and your talent. You have put your time and effort into what you have made and wish that others could see that instead of picking it apart because it is a little bit different than the standard. Sometimes that makes you wonder if being a creative is worth the comments you get from people when it comes to your art.

As a creative, you fall into a niche that many claim, but not many are a part of. You are in love with art, genuinely, and not just yours. You write, but can see the abstract techniques that a dancer uses while in their element. Or you sing, but love how a cinematographer can create a tone that makes a film go from good on paper to great on-screen. Or You might draw. You might be a print-maker. You might blow glass. Whatever it is, it reminds you to be grateful for the demographic you fall in and all that comes with it.

You know there is a reason for this. The same feeling you get when your hands have made something is the same feeling you get when watching another creative excel in their craft. It is an atmosphere produced that you cannot fully explain. There is an undrainable energy birthed by either your craft or another’s. And there is a reason.

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God has given us all something that can be called creative space. It goes beyond this imaginary “box” that most people say we do or do not need to be inside of. This creative space is not something that is necessarily a box at all or any shape at that matter. It is literally a space. It is a place that resembles the proverbial “lane” made specifically for us, but unlike a lane, there are not only two directions we can go and it often overlaps with another’s.

And though our creative spaces are different, they all intertwine in some way, hence the exuberance you feel when a work of art that you have had no part in can touch you inside your soul unlike anything else. No matter what we create, we cannot do it entirely alone nor were we meant to. Embrace that. That is a gift that is unlike any other. Though some people will not understand it or try to suppress it, you are an artist, and you create based on the passion for art that lies within you. THAT is your space. It is a part of you because God wanted YOU to be the creative you are at this very moment. Your creative space makes you unique. You were given YOUR mind and YOUR hands and YOUR innermost desires because there were things meant for you to create now. You may not even know what that even means for you, but that should not stop you.

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Being a creative is hard. Sometimes it does not pay well if at all (in some cases). Sometimes it takes years for you to come to grips with the fact that something more technical is not a part of your purpose. That is incredibly uncomfortable, but the sooner we understand that it is coherent with our destiny, the more of who we really are and what makes our heart beat can be found in the things that we create.

So for you, the creative, who may be discouraged or simply tired of not fitting into the world’s standards of who you should be or what you should be doing, remember this. You were given a creative space and blessed with the opportunity to be a creative in this age because God intended you to create in a time such as this one. Keep your head up and do not stop creating. It is what you were made for.

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Justice League Could Be The DCEU’s Total Package

Justice League is shaping up to be among the most anticipated movies of 2017. After the mixed reactions towards the other three films of the DC extended universe, it has a large mountain to climb in order to win over the hearts of the public and put the DCEU back into the good graces of comic movie fans.

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Photo: Warner Bros.

A huge concern is obviously that there has already been a major team up in film. Marvel’s Avengers has established itself in the film community and unfortunately, Justice League has to follow in its footsteps. With the previous films in the DCEU not being as critically received in the industry, it would seem that Justice League is already starting from behind, but it certainly is not, IF DC’s Wonder Woman is well-developed and can perform at a level that shows fans great promise of what’s to come in their universe.

Justice League does not necessarily have to be a cult classic. It just has to be a good, well-thought out movie and it can learn from the films that came before it and build a solid foundation and present the world with something that leaves fans not just satisfied, but positive about the direction the relatively young DCEU is going.

Man of Steel

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Photo: Warner Bros.

Mixed reactions or not, Man of Steel attempted to tell a different story of the most popular superhero of all time. The silver screen has been littered with stories focusing on the more campy side of Superman. Almost all of them, if not ALL of them, did their best to paint Kal-El as the hero everyone loved and accepted and the ultimate hero that the villains just could not tolerate. Man of Steel did the opposite. Zack Snyder, the director, pushed to tell the story of the man before the story of the savior. Regardless, it focused on storytelling and whether or not it was accepted or effective, it was powerful statement that there is more to Superman than carrying planes and leaping buildings. Justice League has an opportunity to do the same and drive home a story that goes beyond their personas as heroes, but their lives outside of them and how they factor into their motivations to save the world, not as solo acts, but as a unit.

Batman V. Superman

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Photo: DC Comics

This writer was not a big fan of this film, but that still does not take away from the good things and strengths that came from this movie. A dysfunctional film gave fans beautiful cinematography,settings, and the score was absolutely stunning. Though the material did not always match their quality, they were something that were definite positives for the film. These are all three things that Justice League needs to be on track for a well-received movie. Cinematography, settings, and score can legitimately make or break a movie and it would not to do justice to the League (pun possibly intended) to overlook these elements as major keys to make this film successful.

Suicide Squad

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Photo: Warner Bros. 

This film stood out as the most fun of the three. It was displayed as an adventure and played off the weakness of the team (their lack of coherent motivations, personalities, and depth of evil) and made it the film’s greatest strength. This third installment in the DCEU had reactions split in the middle the same as its predecessors, but it was the truest sign of potential that this universe has shown since its conception. Messy at times and lacking good layering for the villains, Suicide Squad focused on giving the fans something that they would enjoy and pushed the chemistry of the characters as a focal point. With the Justice League being a film that features a lot of characters, showcasing the chemistry, or lack thereof, amongst them can become an intriguing side story that adds to them having to come together and save their world. Not only that, but with so many characters, Justice League can really ramp up the fun factor and deliver a film, that is well-rounded in all aspects and not just one or a few.

More than anything, the fans just want a movie from DC that they feel lived up to their expectations. They want a movie that makes them excited about what is happening and what is to come, keeps them invested emotionally, tells a great story, and positively plays to their senses. Each of the movies that came before Justice League had tastes of these elements, but this film has the potential to be the culmination of all them. Justice League does not come out until 2017, but in the meantime, if the DCEU can learn from itself, there is a lot to look forward to as far as Justice League is concerned.

Nostalgia and the New Era: The Return of Veterans and Classics to the Big Screen

The landscape of movies is constantly changing. At second glance, it would be easy to believe that today’s date was somewhere between 1990 and 2005. More and more, stars that we assumed were well past their primes have been saturating screens, both big and small, and have begun to make their presence known once again refusing to get lost in the shuffle.

These past few years have created the opportunity for older stars to return to the medium that made them and it has been welcomed with open arms from those who find themselves on the outside looking in, wondering how this resurgence began and why.

Careers have been completely revitalized even as the new wave of talent has come flooding in. Winona Ryder in Stranger Things, which has already become a cult classic, is a reminder of the star she was in the 90’s through her performance.

Photo: Netflix 

Ben Affleck, who was nearly forgotten, rose from the ashes as the new Batman in the DC extended universe.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Michael Keaton got a fresh start again as Birdman and is now a featured character in the upcoming Spider-Man film.

Photo: Fox Searchlight

And now, Eddie Murphy has come out of a long hiatus to grace the big screens as Mr. Church.

Photo: Andy Kropa

This era of millennials is fascinated with nostalgia. Not only is the clothing littered with vibes from the 1990’s, but film has been tapping into the need for millennials to feel the decades that have passed them by. Star Wars is one of the shining examples of that as its 2015 release broke records and showed that it was still very much relevant to even the casual fan.

Filmmakers and television show runners alike are beginning to see the power in nostalgia hence the massive push for remakes and continuations of popular films.

Photo: Comingsoon.net

Power Rangers is a movie that has become a headliner already as a major remake of a popular franchise in 2017. The anticipation and buzz that this film has created has managed to get fans excited, maybe a little worried, but definitely ready to experience the what the Rangers have to offer to the silver screen…again.

Photo: Robert Zuckerman

Bad Boys III makes the list as a continuation of another film that has had a bit of time gap since its predecessor Bad Boys II. The thought of a sequel featuring two long-term veterans in Will Smith and Martin Lawrence already ushers in an atmosphere of the same magic they captured in both movies. Fans want to see it and for good reason. Two top-tier actors are returning to a franchise years later after the hopes of a final film to form a trilogy were not as likely as some wanted. Now, Bad Boys III has been greenlit and is looking to capitalize on this new era’s focus on classics.

As mentioned before, it is not just the films that are getting a vintage retouch. Their actors are as well. Expect to see many more pioneers of the entertainment industry to make their fateful comebacks in various forms of media. Now is the time where the door is wide open for them to return and hopefully continue to resurrect their careers for a new and changing generation.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your opinion in the comments below and let’s chat!

Marvel, Holland, and Watts: Recapturing the Magic of Spider-Man

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“Tom Holland has been cast as the newest web-slinger” was the tagline heard around the world nearly a year ago. That news was met with much chagrin as people began researching a little known actor that they figured would be unfit to don the mantle of Peter Parker. What they did not know was that Tom Holland was not only a great fit to be the cinematic universe’s next Spider-Man, but that Marvel Studios had bigger plans for him entirely.

Most importantly, they had plans to make him the face of a new era and use him to bring a new type of movie to the screens where what is seen is a mirror of the world: Youthful, diverse characters that are relatable despite their powers and are evolved from their classic, straight forward iterations that sometimes feel too “in the box” and not very reflective of modern-day society.

What is so different this time?


There is a certain anxiety that follows the silver screen’s Spider-Man and arguably for good reason. Audiences have been met with two different versions, both received with mixed reactions. They did their own thing and for the purists out there, just did not cut it. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has a great opportunity here and he has already found a way to stand out from his counterparts. Why? With about twenty of minutes of screen time in a movie that had no true focus on him, Holland was able to establish a genuine connection with the audience.

Some of that can be attributed to the material he was given in Captain America: Civil War. The rest falls on his shoulders. He carries an uncanny charisma in his performance and portrays Peter Parker in a light that many have been waiting for: a jovial, confident hero with a mouth who actually enjoys the responsibility of saving people (to some degree) unlike his adult allies (minus Scott Lang, he’s like half an adult at best) and temporary enemies. In the little time he is given, he manages to show how much he differs from that persona when he is not wearing his suit, the thing that makes him feel the most powerful. That dynamic matters and in fact, drives the character entirely. His internal fortitude never changes. The person who carries it does and audiences will be brought front and center to this in a way they have yet to experience with Spider-Man in cinema.

This combination will bring a unique movie to comic themed film. 

Spider-Man: Homecoming will be among the most unique and diverse films in the comic-centered, cinematic universe…yes, even next to Black Panther. This story will follow Peter Parker, who lives in Queens (Diversity, USA), who is a freshman in high school, and has to juggle his multiple responsibilities: school, home, and crime (because crime is selfish and waits for no man, not even for Spider-Man). And for the first time, the struggles Peter has to deal with between them are the focus and not just plot devices.

Peter Parker is the embodiment of caring about people enough to try to make powers and normal life work, even if it is not successful many times. To see someone fight for balance in a realistic setting is something that all people can and will relate to because that same power struggle is constant for almost everyone, not just a few. That matters and that alone will muster up empathy, sympathy, and at the core of it, be relevant to the audience. He will be the first superpowered hero to be broken down in this aspect. Without his suit he has to deal with insecurities. He is a shadow. He has to maximize the few things he does have. And he is in high school, a place where most people have dealt with the same exact issues he will be facing. From that alone, he sincerely looks like many of the fans who are going to see him in the movies.

That focus helped Jon Watts land the role of director. It was his vision to do so. He says in an interview with the Daily Beast, “It’s been really fun to just look for things that none of the other Spider-Man movies have really explored before, and decide if that’s something we want to work into that. And really making it a high school movie, and committing to that, and not having that just be the beginning of the movie. The John Hughes sort of tone. When you’re looking at it through that prism, it really opens up the door to a lot of possibilities.” This movie has already set itself apart and will most likely be the first of many more to come.

The New Era is a diverse era.

(Photo : Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

This “new era” of the comic universe has not necessarily been met with great applause. In return for the diversity of characters, some fans find themselves on the giving end of great criticism. It is understandable. It is easy to get used to something and never wanting to see it change and fighting any alteration of it no matter the benefits it may have. In spite of that, there has been a giant push for diversity in the comics and Spider-Man will be the first full on representation of that in comic film. After all, the generation we are in now and the generation that comes next deserves to have comic characters that are like them and share their issues too.

As Dan Slott (if you do not know who he is, please do yourself a favor and look him up) would say, “It’s okay to share the toys.” And that is correct. Though some characters will never be altered from a diversity standpoint, it is okay to intervene and make adaptions to others. Every one deserves representation even if it is not necessarily well received.

This movie is set up to make big strides in diversity in its setting as well. He is Peter Parker with a cast of nothing but diversity. There is Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Logan Marshall-Green, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier and Kenneth Choi, and many other names as well. Most of the actors named here are different from each other and definitely represent different things, not to mention there is an emphasis on youth and that is for a reason.

Jon Watts says it like this while talking to the Daily Beast, “Peter Parker goes to high school in Queens and Queens is one of — if not the — most diverse places in the world, so I just wanted it to reflect what that actually looks like.” If he is reflecting what Queens looks like in the most realistic of ways, then there is a strong possibility that even the extras will represent that. This is an age where the environment, the characters, and their issues should reflect the world around. With that being said, that means classic iterations need to have room to evolve especially if the industry has any chance of surviving with its mainstream appeal now. The focus on diversity is unlike any other film in this genre and that is a GOOD  thing and will hopefully set the bar for others moving forward. This version of Spider-Man has chosen to take that by the horns.

Marvel is sold and that is what matters. 


Marvel has more than established that they at least have a working idea of whom to cast and how to portray them…and it is not just Marvel Studios. They give tremendous freedom to the directors they choose for their projects and this one is no different. As stated before, Jon Watts came in with a vision to shed light on Spider-Man and Peter Parker in a way that we have never seen before. Focusing on the character first, then the story. That alone sold Marvel, Kevin Fiege in particular, on how they would cast their new Peter Parker.

Tom Holland and his ability to imitate the Spidey that they were looking for made waves with them and even the heart and soul of the Marvel brand, Stan Lee. In an interview during Denver’s Comic Con he praises Holland and says, “Oh, he’s wonderful. I was with him the other day. He is great. I can’t believe it. It’s as if we created a living being to be Spider-Man, and it turned out to be Tom.” This is Stan Lee’s character. He literally created him and for him to give such high adulation to Holland speaks volumes for him to be the face of a new era where youth, different orientations, and a plethora of races and their issues are the centerpiece.

Time will tell if Holland lives up to expectations. Whether he does or not, he is being poised to be the face that carries this generation into a new era. It is hard to think that Marvel, Holland, and Watts do not have what it takes to capture the magic of the friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man.

Any thoughts? Feel free to leave comments. Let’s talk!

The Comic Universe and Diversity: Why It Is Not Waiting for Us

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Nerd culture is becoming a big deal these days. Its popularity has transformed from a sub-genre to mainstream fame. So many people are becoming invested into this culture and this investment brings an often heavily debated issue with it: Diversity.

It is important for any business to keep up with the current status quo. With the present resurgence of the comic industry and its characters, this universe is one that does not have the time to wait before it adapts. Companies like Marvel, DC, and Boom! are all pushing what they think is the best representation of the world through our lens and with that, comes something that some of us have yet to accept. Diversity is a key motivation behind their business model and while some of us do not agree that it is the right stride for them, it is absolutely necessary and long overdue.

For anyone who has followed major comic book characters, one of the most glaring issues has always been the lack of diversity. Sure, there have been a few main or supporting characters that shared the same stage as the A-listers, but they have been far and in between for decades. The comic industry noticed, whether it was from fan mail full of complaints, celebrities like Donald Glover speaking up (let’s all thank him for Miles Morales), or the writers in general recognizing the need for a change.More and more, great leaps have been made to expand the growing demographic of the comic universe.

We have seen a Pakistani teen take the mantle of Ms. Marvel.

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We have seen a Latina woman become a Green Lantern.

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We have seen an asian supergenius become the roaring, raging Hulk.

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We have seen a young black girl, RiRi Williams, reverse engineer Tony Stark’s Ironman suit and step up as his heir apparent.

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And that is just a few of the new guys. These are monumental changes to major characters that matter and have drastic effects in this society…especially in this society.

One could say that this type of diversity is insincere and a ploy to capitalize on a new movement. There are those that would argue this to the grave, but is that actually true or is the comic universe just reflecting what society is actually becoming? Is this new push similar to the one in the era of blaxploitation which happened to also create Luke Cage in the 70’s?

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This seems different. It is hard to think that if heroes and villains were to exist in the likeness of their comic book counterparts NOW they would not come from different backgrounds, races, and orientations. On top of that, our most beloved superhumans would probably mirror that too. The writers and developers of the comic industry have picked up on this and have chosen to act accordingly.

I can remember growing up and being entranced with comics, their movies, their television shows and whatever I could get my hands on. One thing that stood out was that I did not truly have someone who I could relate to. There were a few prominent black heroes, but that did not mean I could realistically imagine myself imitating them in real life whether it was in my play time fantasies or Halloween. One hero stood out in particular. Peter Parker.

Spider-Man. And it was not a striking resemblance between us that I idolized. It was his youth. It was his quirky attitude. It was his familiar issues with growing up and school that made him empowering and appealing to me. But that was me. Uniquely me. I found the silver lining in the lack of diversity in comics.

Now, though, we are in a generation where diversity is front and center in our nation. It is something not even its citizens can agree on. In that same vein, many are divided when it comes to diversity in the comics. The truth of the matter is that some fans do not want change, but then again, that is something common with most people and that should not stop companies like Marvel, DC, and Boom! from vying for it and trying to push main characters with diverse backgrounds. A widening fan base deserves a wide array of persons that they can relate to.

More than anything, this transition can really have a dynamic impact on youth. Children look up to those that seem to represent them. The same can be said for adults as well. If a black child can look up to Miles Morales as Spider-Man and be empowered, if a muslim girl can see Kamala Khan in action and feel accepted, or if a woman can see X-23 or Wonder Woman and realize that she can be just as powerful in her own life, then the work that the comic universe put in to diversify was all worth it. We need more of that represented in our society.

The comic universe cannot wait for us all to agree. We simply will not. That does not take away from the power that diversity will continue to have in this realm. And when it is all said and done, their sales and influence in the national community will be a good determining factor if this endeavor was worth it for them. It does comes to the point where we have to be adults, willing to accept change, and not fight it so hard. This is a legitimate change that accompanies the climate in which we live. This will not deflect the fact that there will be those who think that our characters should remain classic and classic only and that is an issue I foresee many of us staying divided on.

Despite that, the diversity that we have been getting has been good. It is the way that this universe can be passed down to the next generation. If the comic universe does not adapt, then it has no chance of surviving. Like anything, it has to continue to evolve. It opens the door for fresh stories and new opportunities for more than just one age or demographic group to enjoy. Maybe one day we will all be willing to accept these changes, but until then, the comic universe cannot afford to wait for us and has to keep pressing forward.

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